“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, late August, 1921, 74 Gloucester Place, Marylebone, London; and Shakespeare & Co., 12 rue de l’Odeon, Paris

Harriet Shaw Weaver, 44, publisher of the Egoist magazine, founder of the Egoist Press, and benefactor of many novelists and poets, has come to a decision.

She has heard rumors that one of the writers she supports [well, at least one] uses the money she sends to regularly get drunk. Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, living in Paris, has written to assure her that these are just rumors. Although he does mention that he probably drinks a bit too much.

Weaver has decided that Joyce’s bad habits are irrelevant in the face of his tremendous talent. Not only is she going to continue to support him, she is going to become his only publisher in the United Kingdom. For £15 she purchases the rights to his book of poetry published 14 years ago, Chamber Music, as well as, for £150, the copyrights to his early short story collection, Dubliners, and his play, Exiles.

James Joyce’s Chamber Music

Joyce has told her that American ex-patriate Sylvia Beach, 34, has offered to publish his novel-in-progress, Ulysses, through her Paris bookstore, Shakespeare & Co. Harriet is working with Sylvia to time the publication of the novel in England so that it doesn’t hurt sales of Beach’s publication in Paris.

Joyce assures both women that he’s optimistic the novel could still be ready this fall.

*****

In Paris, after Joyce collapses in a music hall from the strain of working 16 hours a day on his book, he decides to change his work habits.

Now he limits writing and revising Ulysses to five or six hours each day and spends more time on eight-mile walks around Paris.

His eye pain has become a bit more bearable, and he is working on 10 different episodes in the novel at the same time. Joyce has revised one section, “Aeolus,” to incorporate headlines which weren’t in any of the excerpts which appeared in the American magazine The Little Review. This changes the orientation of the second half of the book, which is being sent off to a printer in Dijon to be set into galleys.

The printer comes back to Joyce with all kinds of questions. Why so many compound words? Those are usually two words. Are you sure you want them as one word? Only one of the men who works there has any grasp of the English language at all.

And Joyce and Beach are running out of typists. They have all tried for a while and then given up in frustration over Joyce’s handwritten color-coded insertions to be incorporated into the text.

Recently they have enlisted an American drinking buddy of Joyce’s, fellow novelist and sometimes publisher Robert McAlmon, 26. He is doing his best with the four notebooks full of changes marked in red, yellow, blue, purple and green in Joyce’s scrawl.

Robert McAlmon

For the first few pages of the all-important “Penelope” section, McAlmon is meticulous about determining exactly where Joyce means each phrase to go. He has even re-typed a whole page to make sure everything is in the right place.

But after a bit, McAlmon muses, does it really matter when the character Molly Bloom thinks this, that or the other? What difference does it make if those thoughts go here, or there, or a few pages later, or maybe not at all. So he just puts them in wherever he is typing.

He wonders if Joyce will notice.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I, covering 1920, is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about Writers’ Salons in Dublin and London Before the Great War in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”:  Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and e-book versions.

“Such Friends”: 100 years ago, March 31, 1921, 8 rue Dupuytren, Left Bank, Paris

Sylvia Beach, just turned 34, American ex-pat owner of this bookstore, Shakespeare & Co., knows that she has to be the one to bring the bad news.

She has received a clipping of an editorial in last month’s New York Tribune stating that the court has ruled that excerpts from Ulysses, the work in progress by Irish novelist James Joyce, 39, her friend and customer, are officially, legally obscene.

Sylvia Beach and James Joyce

And the “melancholy Jesus,” as she calls him, has just walked into her store.

Joyce has been working on this novel for over six years now, and the late nights in a dimly lit room have severely affected his eyesight. He says he is now writing the last two sections and will be finished by May. Sylvia is dubious.

Recently he received a briefcase, sent from his previous home in Trieste, Italy, containing 12-year-old love letters between him and his partner and mother of his children, Nora Barnacle, just turned 37. This will help him to write the ending he has planned.

Despite the efforts of his benefactor in New York, lawyer and art collector John Quinn, 50, to get a major publisher to bring out a private edition, the only place excerpts of Ulysses have appeared is in The Little Review. And now the magazine’s publishers have been fined and prohibited from publishing any more.

After reading the clipping Joyce says,

My book will never come out now.”

What disturbs him even more is that, according to the editorial, the defense that Quinn had used in court was that his manuscript was incomprehensible to the average reader and disgusting. But not obscene. Because most people couldn’t understand it anyway, what was the point in suppressing it?

The judges didn’t agree. And they had recently punished a publisher in another obscenity case with a choice between a $1,000 fine or three months in prison. So the Little Review publishers take them seriously.

Sylvia felt for Joyce. His short story collection, Dubliners, had been rejected by 22 publishers before being brought out by Grant Richards Ltd. seven years ago in London.

What could she do to help? Does she know any publishers here? Her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 28, who owns a French language bookshop a few blocks away, has been bringing out Les Cahiers des Amis des Livres, a series of French writing and translations, for almost two years now. She works with a printer in Dijon and knows about typesetting and production.

Quinn had talked to Joyce about creating a private, high quality edition to sell for $10. Sylvia is thinking that she could have three different versions, of varying quality, and charge twice that much for a signed limited edition.

If she sets up a subscription scheme to get orders in advance, Sylvia figures she could pay the printer in instalments. And she could also hit up her mother and sisters for more family money to cover expenses.

Sylvia knows little about publishing, but she knows how to sell books. Not only is she fond of Joyce, she loves his work and has read enough of this novel to know that it will be one of the most important works published in English this decade.

Beach turns to Joyce and says,

Mr. Joyce, would you let Shakespeare & Co. have the honor of bringing out your Ulysses?”

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the series, Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s. Volume I, covering 1920, is available on Amazon in print and e-book versions. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

This summer I will be talking about The Literary 1920s in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at Carnegie-Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is also available on Amazon in both print and e-book formats.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”: 100 Years Ago, November 24, 1920, 31 Nassau Street, Manhattan, New York City, and rue de l’Universite, Paris

In his Manhattan law offices, John Quinn, 50, is stumped by the telegram he received yesterday from Irish novelist James Joyce, 38, in Paris.

SCOTTS  TETTOJA  MOIEDURA  GEIZLSUND.  JOYCE”

Quinn sent his law clerk out to find some kind of code manual they could use to decipher it, and they have come up with:

You will be receiving a letter upon this subject in a few days giving information and my views pretty fully. I think a little delay will not be disadvantageous.”

Quinn’s a bit disappointed, to say the least. He had written an urgent letter to Joyce almost a month ago, firmly telling him to contact The Little Review magazine and withdraw the rights to serialize his work in progress, Ulysses.

In the past year or so, the issues of the magazine carrying chapters of Ulysses have been seized, burnt, and now confiscated by the New York district attorney in preparation for an upcoming trial on the grounds of obscenity.

Quinn is convinced that the DA might drop the charges if Ulysses is withdrawn from the magazine. He cables Joyce that he wants legal custody of the manuscript before an upcoming meeting he has arranged with publisher Ben Huebsch, 44, who four years ago published the American editions of Joyce’s Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Quinn is sure that Huebsch will publish the full novel in a privately printed edition, which would be immune from prosecution.

Ben Huebsch

*****

In his freezing cold Paris hotel room, with a shawl wrapped around his head for warmth, James Joyce responds by letter to Quinn’s entreaties.

He points out that he has been working on Ulysses for six years now, at twenty different addresses, this most recent being the coldest. Having heard very little about the recent court case, Joyce tells Quinn that he has assumed that The Little Review is no longer being published—there’s been no issue since the one in July-August which was confiscated—and so there is no need for him to withdraw the rights.

In previous letters, Joyce had reminded Quinn that Huebsch had talked to him about publishing Ulysses before, and actually threatened to bring out a pirated edition in the States if Joyce had his novel published in Europe. Joyce doesn’t think the manuscript’s current legal troubles will put Mr. Huebsch off from publishing the full book.

Now he just wants to get back to writing. Joyce is planning to finish the novel next year and then take a whole year off. Right now he is on the ninth draft of the “Circe” episode.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions. Early in 2021 I will be talking about Perkins, Fitzgerald and Hemingway in the Osher Lifelong Learning program at Carnegie-Mellon University.

My “Such Friends” presentations, The Founding of the Abbey Theatre and Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, are available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago, July 11, 1920, 34 rue du Bois de Bologne, Neuilly, Paris

Sylvia Beach, 33, American ex-patriate bookshop owner, does not want to be at this dinner party.

Her partner, Adrienne Monnier, 28, owner of the Left Bank’s other most popular bookshop, has been invited by the host, French poet Andre Spire, soon to turn 52, whom Adrienne knows well.

But Sylvia doesn’t. Nevertheless, Adrienne is persuasive.

34 Rue du Bois de Boulogne

34 rue du Bois de Bologne

As Sylvia is planning a quick exit, Spire comes over and whispers to her,

The Irish writer James Joyce is here.”

That puts a different twist on it.

American poet Ezra Pound, 34, who is lounging in an armchair in a velvet jacket and open-collared blue shirt, has made sure that everyone in Paris knows that the amazing James Joyce, 38, is in town.

Beach has admired Joyce’s work—from Dubliners to Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Pound has spent the past month on a public relations campaign to line up ahead of time everything the Joyce family will need to live in Paris:  first a hotel room, then a free apartment for three months, then a French translator for his work.

Beach chats with Nora Barnacle, 36, Joyce’s partner for the last 16 years and mother of their two children. Nora is thrilled to be able to speak English with someone; for the past 10 years in Trieste they’ve all been speaking Italian.

During a dinner of cold cuts and free-flowing wine, Joyce refuses any alcohol by turning his glass upside down. He’s determined to not drink until 8 pm in the evenings.

Afterwards, Sylvia walks into the library and finds Joyce leaning against a bookcase; thin, a bit stooped. She cautiously approaches him, and, offering her hand, asks,

Is this the great James Joyce?”

He limply shakes her hand saying, in his Dublin lilt,

James Joyce.”

They talk about his family’s move to Paris and she notices that his right eye looks odd, distorted by the thicker right lens of his glasses.

He asks her,

And what do you do in Paris, Miss Beach?”

He is enchanted by the name of her bookshop, Shakespeare & Co., and writes it down, along with the address, in his notebook held very close to his eyes. He tells her that he will visit soon.

Adrienne finds Sylvia and says that the guests are leaving. Beach shakes Joyce’s hand again.

As she is walking out, Spire asks Sylvia if she has been bored. Beach replies,

Bored? I have just met James Joyce!”

Andre Spire

Andre Spire

Thanks to Paris resident Gregory Grefenstette for help in pinpointing the location of this meeting.

“Such Friends”:  100 Years Ago… is the basis for the book, “Such Friends”:  The Literary 1920s, to be published by K. Donnelly Communications. For more information, email me at kaydee@gpysyteacher.com.

This fall I will be talking about writers’ salons before and after the Great War in Ireland, England, France and America in the Osher Lifelong Learning programs at University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

Manager as Muse, about Scribner’s editor Maxwell Perkins’ relationships with F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Thomas Wolfe, is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions.

My presentation, “Such Friends”:  Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table, is available to view on the website of PICT Classic Theatre. The program begins at the 11 minute mark, and my presentation at 16 minutes.

If you want to walk with me through Bloomsbury, you can download my audio walking tour, “Such Friends”: Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group.